If you were to glance at the screen while The Courier was playing, you would say it was a movie. It’s got recognizable actors, a great deal of action, and the production values (minus some obvious green screening) are decent. However, if you were to sit down and watch The Courier, you’d probably be more inclined to say that it’s not anything.
From the very first scene, the “movie” kicks into high gear as The Courier (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) orchestrates some sort of dangerous exchange on an empty roller coaster track. There’s a mysterious package, some shady individuals, and guns are drawn. Later, The Courier goes home. He has a mouse in his apartment, but doesn’t care. Then a hot Asian lady with all sorts of ninja and/or couriering skills shows up. She assists him and later also beds him, as badass Asian chicks in action movies are wont to do. Additionally, The Courier has a new assignment even more mysterious than most of his assignments. It is so mysterious that neither he nor you will ever know what the hell is going on with it, but there will be some bad people involved (Lili Taylor and Miguel Ferrer among others) and maybe the FBI and, like, his god daughter is totally in danger.
As the story progresses, there is plenty of high stakes drama to indicate that a plot is actually unfolding. Will you feel in any way connected to that drama? No. Will you feel connected to the characters? Huh uh. Will you know why Mickey Rourke is suddenly doing an Elvis impersonation in full costume and threatening The Courier? Don’t think so. Is any of this going to make better sense in the end? Not even.
Two days after watching The Courier, I’m still at a loss as to why it fails so completely to connect with the audience. The story is so unclear that it’s difficult to tell if it’s too complicated or simply nonexistent, and we never get to know the characters well enough to care about their fate. If you’re looking for action on a screen, The Courier delivers. Beyond that, we’re on our own.